It’s always satisfying to see local hidden gems get the recognition they deserve. For Texas barbecue purists (and regular ol’ brisket fans, too), Texas Monthly’s list of the top barbecue in the Lone Star State is a hallowed guide to who’s where in barbecue, published every four years. One Abilene barbecue joint received an honorable mention on the statewide magazine’s 2021 list.

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Loved by locals and many out-of-towners, The Shed Market in Abilene has been operating under the same family management in the Big Country since the late 1980s. Over the years, Hollis and Betty’s Dean’s location in Wingate garnered the attention of Texas Monthly several times; The Shed appeared on Texas Monthly’s first list in 1997 and then secured a spot on the list again in 2003. 

After the Deans spent some time focused solely on catering, grandson Byron Stephenson and his wife Stacie moved the operation to a storefront location at 6382 Buffalo Gap Road in Abilene in 2018. The new location has obviously enjoyed much success and added a full-service meat market to serve customers. 

Quality and individual service are at the heart of The Shed Market, which is why the restaurant will only serve meat that’s been smoked for an optimal 15 hours. Any additional time the meat spends in a warmer after smoking means a decrease in quality, and the meat is not sliced until ordered. (According to the Stephensons, that’s the reason sellout incomes early in the lunch hour and the line runs out the door.)

Instead of having specific hours of operation, The Shed Market serves lunch starting at 11 AM on Tuesdays-Thursdays until they sell out — and yes, they sell out fast during the lunch hour. Patrons who dread the line needn’t worry, though, because The Shed Market offers free beer while you’re waiting to order your lunch. And for anyone on the go or who can’t manage standing in line, The Shed Market accepts to-go lunch orders through the Toast app.

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